My favorite day of the year has finally arrived! Happy halloween to all!
It’s one of the most popular times of the year, for both the young and old…a frighteningly sweet break from the routine. But how old is Halloween and how did this tradition evolve into what we celebrate today?
Halloween can trace its roots back to the Celts, a people who celebrated New Year’s on November 1 and believed that on the last day of every year the curtain between the living and the dead was temporarily blurred. This 2,000 year-old tradition eventually evolved into our very own All Hallow’s Eve, a celebration of those who had died over the course of the previous year.
Colonial settlers believed that the best way to avoid spirits of the dead was to dress like them…so began the tradition of dressing up in costume to avoid being recognized by the otherworldly beings they believed walked among us. In addition, leaving a bowl of food outside served to appease the ghosts and spare the settlers an unannounced visit.
One of the most recognizable symbols of Halloween is a jack o’lantern. The great pumpkin tradition was derived from an English legend about Stingy Jack who made a pact with the devil and found himself caught between God and the devil. Being relegated to walk with the earth with only a piece of coal to light his way, Jack fashioned a lantern by hollowing a large turnip to carry the burning coal. The Irish began referring to this spirit as Jack of the Lantern, eventually shortened to Jack O’Lantern, and the founding father of our carved pumpkins.
Another iconic symbol of Halloween is the witch. These broom-riding hags have long been associated with Halloween and have been held responsible for everything from crop failure to bad weather. But how did they get such a bad rap? For starters, we’ve always been suspicious of anyone who is perceived to have supernatural powers, a sixth sense, or is just different.
The witch’s pointed hat actually dates back to the 15th century when fashion dictates of the day saw many upper class women wearing tall, pointed hats. This style began to spread to the lower class, a group most frequently accused of witchcraft. Eventually this style of hat became associated with witches and the practice of black magic.
And then there’s the broom. Who would guess the humble broom would become associated with the dark arts? This same group of lower class women accused of being witches sold brooms not only for household chores, but for the purpose of curing infertility. It was long believed that if these brooms could cure infertility, then a witch must be behind their success. And witches have been riding brooms ever since!
As it certainly brings back fond childhood memories, join me in celebrating this night where pumpkins are aglow, candy is plentiful, and creatures of the night are free to roam!
(And if you’re catholic! don’t forget Tomorro’s a Holy Day of Obligation!)
J.L. Mann (Bubba) Cromer is an Attorney in Columbia, whose practice focuses on DUI Defense, Criminal Defense & Probate Administration and Estate Planning. Admitted to practice in South Carolina, California & The District of Columbia, “Bubba” has been in practice for 26 years. In addition to his Solo Practice at Cromer Law Offices, LLC, Bubba Served as the only true Independent In the S.C. Legislature from 1990-1998. For the past 16 years, he has Served as the Reading Clerk of the House.Bubba resides in Columbia, S.C and Rosman, N.C. where he built a cabin 4 years ago. Bubba lives with his Hungarian Golden Retriever Casper (pictured).